“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Mark Twain, “Innocents Abroad”
On March 13, Peace Boat US Director, Emilie McGlone, participated in a panel in a Parallel Event to the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). The panel, titled “Education for Sustainable Development: A Tool to Empower Rural Women and Girls” explored how education for sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of non-violence, and global citizenship can contribute to achieving peace and empowerment for all, and to improve dignity, respect and the overall living conditions for rural women and girls.
Moderated by Dr. Liberato Bautista, Assistant General Secretary for the United Nations and International Affairs of the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the four panel members discussed their respective organizations in regards to utilizing education for the SDGs as a tool for rural women and girls to achieve sustainable development in their local communities..
LILY GRAY, Liaison Officer at UNESCO New York Office
“Traditional knowledge has been recognized as an important pillar of sustainable development.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious, universal agenda, supported by all UN agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to end poverty through sustainable development by the year 2030. To begin the panel discussion, Lily Gray, Liaison Officer at the UNESCO New York office, emphasized the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for global development. Ms. Gray discussed previous as well as ongoing initiatives taken by UNESCO to achieve the 2030 Agenda including: the UN Decade of ESD (2005 – 2014), the Global Action Program for Sustainable Development (2014 – 2019), and the annual UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD which awards 3 individuals or groups $50,000 for impressive projects related to Education for Sustainable Development.
In reference to the empowerment of rural women and girls, Ms. Gray stressed the importance of sharing and strengthening “traditional knowledge”, or knowledge developed and embedded within the cultural traditions of indigenous, or local communities.
EMILIE MCGLONE, Director of Peace Boat US, ICAN Member
“It is important to bring the SDGs into local communities and to learn from their traditional practices to see how we can work towards a more sustainable future together.”
Emilie McGlone, Director of Peace Boat US, presented on the organization and its mission. Addressing questions such as: How does Peace Boat contribute to global peace and sustainability ? How can we be socially and environmentally responsible travelers? How can we measure local impact ?
Touching on the work Peace Boat does regarding disaster relief, the United People’s Alliance, and the Hibakusha Project, Ms. McGlone stressed the need for global peace and education. Appealing directly to the theme of the panel, Ms. McGlone explained the International Student Program which aims to increase access to peace education and conflict resolution training for young people from post-conflict regions. In addition to peace-building and training, the international students programs have a strong focus on the Untied Nations Sustainable Development Goals and learn directly from the communities they visit throughout their time traveling with Peace Boat. This experiential learning is integral to the success of Peace Boat and international education. The ship, Ocean Dream, serves as a flagship for the UN SDGs with the Global Goals logo painted on the hull of the ship, and continuously promotes the SDGs in local communities while employing traditional learning and teaching. “When we dock in port,” said Ms. McGlone, “we are not there to teach, but rather to learn from the communities we visit.”
AKARI YAMADA, President of PPSEAWA USA
“Friendship is an undervalued commodity in this world.”
The Pan-Pacific & Southwest Asia Women’s Association, celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, is known to be the only international women’s organization devoted to families, peace and understanding in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. Akari Yamada, head of the USA sector of the organization, discussed the the first part of PPSEAWA’s mission, friendship, and how it is integrated into different programs globally. Focusing on three projects, though making clear that there are many more, Ms. Yamada explained the work being done in Fiji, Thailand, and Indonesia to empower and strengthen women. From leadership training for marginalized girls in Fiji to the mission to ensure equitable access to life-skills learning in Thailand and quality education in Indonesia, PPSEAWA recognizes that “when we educate a girl, we educate a village.” The notion of education for all, especially rural women and girls, is more important now more than ever.
SAIONARA KÖNIG-REIS, Representative to the UN and Head of NY Office, Dianova International
“Women have so many talents, and often times their ambitions are taken away by the roles imposed on them by their communities.”
Dianova International aims to implement advocacy initiatives to defend and promote a number of causes. Among these are gender equality and women’s empowerment in all areas. Ms. König-Reis focused two areas where Dionova International is implementing positive change: Chile and Nicaragua. In Chile, the organization is working to equip women to become teachers and role models. By emphasizing the need of capacity building and sustainability of programming, Dianova promotes women empowerment through teachings of an amalgamation of gender equality, peace, and citizenship.
In Nicaragua, Dianova is working to utilize basic facilities in rural areas for education purposes. In addition to empowerment, Dianova in Nicaragua aims to break gender norms, implement family involvement in SDG learning, teach basic life skills, and prevent teenage pregnancy among the rural youth.
While Ms. König-Reis had much to say regarding the work done by Dianova in South America, she ultimately let this video to do the talking. Thank you to everyone who participated in the panel and we look forward to more partnerships towards reaching women and girls in rural areas with education for the SDGs.
This post was written Shelby Moulton, Intern Rutgers University Division of Global Affairs